Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson says the decision to shut him down from Las Vegas Summer League play was “precautionary” and he’ll focus now on getting ready for his first NBA season.
Williamson sustained a bruised left knee in Friday’s summer opener when he banged knees with another player.
The Pelicans subsequently decided to have him sit out the rest of summer competition.
“It was more precautionary,” Williamson told reporters (via ESPN.com), adding that it’s “frustrating” not to be playing with his new teammates.
“I’m a competitor,” Williamson said. “Whenever I can play, I just want to play.”
Without Williamson, the Pelicans defeated the Bulls, 109-72, on Monday night as fellow 2019 draft picks Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada led the way.
Though he wasn’t playing, Williamson clearly was the focus of attention at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. He was swarmed by fans as he left the court and spent 10 minutes signing autographs after the game.
Williamson saw his only game action Friday at a raucous Thomas & Mack that was sold out and had a circus-like atmosphere.
“The energy was high,” Williamson said of the game that was halted in the second half by tremors from a California earthquake. “It was actually my first taste of actually playing against NBA players, so it was great.”
Now Williamson says his aim is to “hone his craft” and get in shape for the long NBA regular season.
“I’ll let the trainers help me with that,” he said.